Bo Nix’s record-breaking 5-touchdown 363-yard performance leads Oregon past Liberty

Photo by DeAngelo Scruggs / fi360 News

In a thrilling showdown at the Fiesta Bowl, the No.8 Oregon Ducks (12-2) defeated the No. 18. Liberty Flames (13-1) 45-6 behind a record-breaking 5-touchdown 363-yard performance from their Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Bo Nix.

“We said this season, and really this game was about unfinished business,” Oregon’s Head Coach Dan Lanning said. “We said we we’re writing the last chapter to our book, and we had the pen. I thought our guys wrote a phenomenal chapter.”

Photo by DeAngelo Scruggs / fi360 News

Both teams came into the game with impressive seasons. Oregon came up short of their College Football Playoff aspirations and was the Pac-12 runner-up. Liberty was attempting to complete an undefeated season in the debut season of their Head Coach Jamey Chadwell, setting the stage for an exciting battle in Glendale, Arizona.

In the first quarter, Liberty led by their sophomore quarterback Kaidon Salter capped off their opening drive in the endzone. Salter connected on a 17-yard pass to Bently Hanshaw and gave Liberty the early 6-0 lead after failing to make the extra-point attempt. Oregon’s high-powered offense, led by Nix, in the final game of his elongated career, responded with a field goal of their own.

Liberty led 6-3 at the end of the first period.

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The second quarter brought out the fireworks as Bo Nix and Oregon’s offense gave Liberty’s defense headaches. Oregon scored 28 unanswered points, led by Nix who completed 19 of his 25 attempts and threw 257 yards and four touchdowns before halftime.

Oregon’s offense gained 111 rushing yards and 257 passing yards in the first half. Oregon’s defense held Liberty’s offense to only 95 rushing yards and 85 passing yards in the first half.

The Ducks held a 31-3 lead over the Flames at the end of the first half.

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As the second half kicked off, Nix and the Ducks kept the momentum rolling as he connected on a 24-yard touchdown to Tez Johnson who had a monster performance with 11 catches for 172 yards and helped push Oregon’s lead to 38-6.

In the fourth and final quarter, Bucky Irving rushed for a 1-yard touchdown to expand Oregon’s lead to 45-6.

Bo Nix exited the contest early in the fourth but left the game with the NCAA single-season completion percentage record (77.45%, breaking Mac Jones’ record of 77.37%), Oregon’s single-season passing yards record (4,508) and single-season passing touchdowns record (45), which were set previously by Marcus Mariota during his 2014 Heisman run.

With the NFL in his sights and the popular trend of players electing to sit out of bowl games, Nix said “My decision was simple. I wanted to go out and compete one more time. I wanted to go out and play another game. I don’t think you’re promised many opportunities to play the game of football, and with the year that we had, it would have been a shame if I didn’t go out there and finish with the guys who made it all possible.”

Photo by DeAngelo Scruggs / fi360 News

Oregon finished the game with 584 total yards, 401 passing yards, and 183 rushing yards.

The Ducks held a Liberty team that came into the game leading the nation in rushing offense with 302 yards a game to only 294 total yards and 168 of those yards on the ground.

Final Score: Oregon Ducks 45, Liberty Flames 6

Oregon reaches 12 wins in a season for only the 5th time in their program’s history and now prepares for their move to the Big 10. “I think Oregon has cemented itself as a premier program.  in college football,” Lanning said. Excited about what’s happening in the future for us, where we’re headed, the direction we’re headed.”

Oregon’s blowout victory of 39 points notched Nebraska’s 38-point victory over Florida in the Fiesta Bowl 1995 season, making it the largest margin of victory in Fiesta Bowl history.